Pfc. Joseph Eveland of Mattoon, assigned to Company A, 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Mattoon, was pronounced dead Sunday (May 6) at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon after an off-duty motorcycle accident.
The family of the 27-year-old Pfc. Eveland released a statement through the Illinois National Guard.
“In our darkest moment, our hearts are warmed by the collective love and support of our family, our friends, our neighbors and our community. The outpouring of support and kindness has been tremendous and we cannot thank everyone enough. Joe was an excellent father, husband, brother, son, and Soldier; he would be proud and honored. This is not an easy time for us. As we navigate this difficult journey we ask media to maintain a respectful distance.”
Eveland deployed with Company A to Afghanistan as part of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in August 2008 to provide transportation and supply support for Task Force Phoenix VIII. He logged more than 3,000 miles as a gunner, with the majority in the lead truck.
"Joe was a well-liked Soldier who always knew how to make Soldiers laugh while accomplishing the mission," said Capt. Elizabeth Bickett of Lake in the Hills, Company A commander. Bickett added, "He was always upbeat and never let anything get him down. He consistently maximized his score on the Army Physical Fitness Test. There will be a big void in the alpha company ranks without Pfc. Eveland.
Eveland, a resident of Mattoon, joined the Illinois Army National Guard in October 2006 and completed basic training in September 2007. He married April May Nadolny April 17, 2010. He is survived by his wife. April, sons Jordan Lee Eveland and Cayden Hayes-Thompson and daughter Chloe May Eveland, all of Mattoon.
"The death of Pfc. Eveland marks a sad day in the Illinois National Guard," said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "When we lose an Illinois National Guard Soldier, their absence is felt throughout the ranks. On behalf of all the men and women of the Illinois National Guard, we offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Eveland."
Visitation for family and friends will be held May 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Schilling Funeral Home, 1301 Charleston Ave., Mattoon.
Funeral services honoring his life will begin at 10 a.m.Thursday (May 10) at Schilling Funeral Home with a military burial following at Dodge Grove Cemetery in Mattoon.
Schilling Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
[Above news release is from the Illinois National Guard.]